Wednesday, November 11, 2009
by Neal Moore for CNN iReport.
Illiteracy to Literature in the Enlightened South - Part I
By NEAL MOORE
OXFORD, MISSISSIPPI (CNN iReport)
From the basic grasp of consonants to the next step up the ladder of literacy - actually craving the concept of literature - I found the idea of introducing a literary mantra in the epicenter of what some folks refer to as the “Enlightened South” an interesting prospect.
David Swider and Michael Bible are affable and giddy and very much sincere about literature. I joined the duo for a beer at the Square’s greasy spoon, Ajax, to talk shop about the region before sitting down for an interview back on their work-turf of Square Books. Their energy plays off each other when they talk, turning every conversation into a brainstorming session of what would be cool or what could work out literary-wise for the literary journal, Kitty Snacks. At ages 25 and 28, respectively, David and Michael are relatively young to undertake the launch of a literary magazine – but this is their point. They want to make the rather daunting idea of literature a possibility for folks of all ages by offering it to the public as bite sized snacks.
According to Michael Bible, Mississippi “is the fattest, poorest, dumbest state in the country – that is full of geniuses. You have people that can’t read right next to people that win Nobel Prizes – and it’s this weird kind of dichotomy that works to both illuminate that kind of difference but also recently, bring it together.”
“The book is kind of a hard commodity right now,” explains Wayne Andrews, Executive Director of the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council, who immediately saw the potential for the journal and helped to get it published. While “publishers [are] not taking risks on new authors [nor] publishing diverse works, we’re finding new ways to do it.” According to Mr. Andrews, quarterly publications like Kitty Snacks are “leading [people] down the path to discover a magazine and then hopefully discover a book.”
Check out Part I of this report by clicking here: http://www.ireport.com/docs/DOC-351049